At long last, Summerset (hinted at in lore and shown on numerous maps) has been opened to the public and now, for the very first time, all Elder Scrolls players can get a glimpse of the Altmer homeland. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have purchased the expansion and are waiting to take your first steps onto the island, you’re in luck. I’ve taken the time to tour the city of Shimmerene, the first location you will be seeing when you click the wayshrine or start a new character.
A Haven for New Characters
Before I get into what you are going to find as you take your time end explore the city of Shimmerene, I want to take some time to address the fact that the starting area has changed once again for new players. Just as with Morrowind, the starting area for new players is the new expansion, and as per the One Tamriel update, the game will easily accommodate you whether you are a seasoned veteran or a raw beginner. If you are a new player, once you finish the Summerset content, the game will send you on your way to experience everything else that Tamriel has to offer.
When you first spawn in you will want to take a minute to absorb the scenery; the developers have put a lot of work into the expansion and it shows. The textures are pretty, the sound is amazing, and most importantly, Shimmerene seems to be more lifelike than most other locations in the game. As you walk down the streets you can see NPC’s walking about, minding their own business as before, but you will also see more interaction between them. Bards, for example, often play in groups and play music that you actually want to hear. Anything that causes a player to stop holding W for a few minutes has to be a good thing – this is an entire world, after all; stop to enjoy it from time to time!
NPC’s Around the City
Tholindlor – Stables
Right after you step out of the Wayshrine you’ll want to make your way to speak to Tholindlor by the stables. He’s the NPC that can help you level up your riding skills, even though he doesn’t seem to have anything terribly interesting to say.
Hirenariel – Your General Goods Store
I don’t know about you, but the moment I step into a new city my first thought is “Okay, where can I buy things? Actually no, where can I sell all of this useless stuff I picked up in the field?” Shimmerene has you covered – the store is right up from the Wayshrine.
Curinure – Mages Guild
Moving away from the stores, we have the Mages Guild which is currently accepting players from all walks of life. If you are not currently a member, Curinure will explain the guild mission which, at your level, involves collecting lore books to build up your reputation. Summerset has an all-new collection of books for you to find, one of which can be found near some ruins to the west of Shimmerene.
Aicessar – Fighter’s Guild
Aicessar still seems to be in mourning over the death of his guildmaster but a quick dialogue with him will reveal that the new guildmaster is the Argonian, Sees All Colors. If you aren’t a new player, then that name should seem very familiar to you, and a great nod to Zenimax’s dedication to lore continuity.
Ancelhros – Bazaar
For new players, there isn’t much to do here but you can buy a backpack upgrade for 400 gold.
There are a few other NPC’s floating around who you will need to speak to, but if you want to see some interesting scenery, make sure you stop by Quorarian’s table up on the north side of the city and wander through the small hedge maze.
Noteworthy City Locations
The NPC’s out in the open make for some interesting conversation, but if you really want to get to the heart of the issues that are plaguing the island, then you’re going to need to go indoors. There are three major locations that you need to see, starting with Anchors Aweigh Inn.
Anchors Aweigh Inn
In your exploration of the city, you will come across Anchors Aweigh Inn one way or another – it’s a massive pub that somehow only features a few rooms, though some of the comic relief makes it worth a visit.
Cuileril – General Store
If you’re looking for general goods, make sure you talk to Cuileril, near the bar area in the inn.
It’s a bar, so naturally, there would be a brewer. You can find Rihari in the main room and she’ll sell you all the spirits you want. Please don’t drink and mount.
On the ground floor of the Inn you’ll run into Garikh, who wanders from room to room. If you speak to him, he’ll mention that he’s hoping for passage to Lillandril.
For some amusement, talk to this NPC and he’ll tell you that he wanted a high elf section of the tavern, but his request was denied. Instead, the owner simply placed a few dividers around him, probably hoping to keep him from annoying the other customers.
There isn’t too much to do in the inn other than buying and selling merchandise, but you can have a seat and listen to Endolile play her lute by the fire. Once again, they really have gone above and beyond to build the atmosphere and make the world seem a little bit more alive.
Kinlady Avinisse’s Mansion
I didn’t run into the lady herself but I did enter her home and find some disturbing literature. The first piece of parchment I found sat by the fire and it was a news bulletin detailing how Summerset should now be free and open to the public. Later, I located a journal written by Kinlady Avinisse regarding how she wants Summerset kept pure and free of outsiders. If you choose to go downstairs, you’ll find an interesting dungeon area and one can only imagine what she’s been doing down there in her spare time. If you explore the area further you will find an entrance to the city sewers, which you would have found anyway by following a very obviously placed questline on the path up to the mansion. I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
Monastery of Serene Harmony
You will probably not find a more obviously named monastery in all of Tamriel, and you will quickly find that you’re not quite welcome here. An Alderach protector will constantly yell at you, telling you to get out, and all manner of other nasty things. If you continue walking around the monastery, however, you will be able to browse the bookshelves, which disappointingly have only one book per shelf. Still, you can read them to level up certain skills, so make sure you check it out.
Outside the City
Eventually, you’ll have to move past Shimmerene and explore the world around you, though admittedly there is quite a bit of wilderness out there, and it’s some of the most beautiful wilderness in the game. It’s no wonder they wanted to keep this place to themselves.
You can exit the city to the west and walk down a path to meet Calibar, an NPC who is clearly upset about the island being opened up to visitors. A discussion with him will unload all of his angst onto you, the poor unsuspecting player, and then he will offer the quest ‘The Queen’s Decree’, which we will speak no more on.
If you don’t feel like following Calibar’s epic questline right out of the gate, then you can head to the west and check out the Ruins of Elven Forces and Archon’s Grove. Once there, you can speak to Captain Telomure who will tell you the story of how his squad was ambushed and as the sole survivor, he is now forced to bear the shame. If you feel like racking up some experience points or just diving into a dungeon, you can take his quest and head into the ruin to recover a pearl that supposedly has immense power.
This brand new chapter to The Elder Scrolls Online accomplishes a number of things. First of all, it gives new players a fresh starting zone that allows them to experience all of the new content. Secondly, it makes that content available to players whether they are max level or just starting out. Did I mention that it looks absolutely gorgeous? I found myself running around and exploring different areas just for the sake of it, rather than running in a straight line and trying to burn through every quest in the main storyline that I could find. All in all, this is a compelling experience, and one that should do all Elder Scrolls players justice in the portrayal of Summerset – an area that has long been neglected by developers at Bethesda.
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